Dons off track in cup opener

Northern Rail Cup

KYLE Kesik was sent off as the Dons got their competitive campaign off to a losing start at Championship heavyweights Featherstone Rovers in the Northern Rail Cup.

Kesik was dismissed for rushing in and throwing a punch following a flare-up from a play the ball which also saw Doncaster’s Chris Spurr and Rovers’ Tim Spears sin-binned.

But the damage had already been done and Doncaster were well on their way to defeat to the higher league opposition at this point.

They did however take a shock lead after just 66 seconds when Mick Butterfield raced 80 metres from his own 20 to score.

It took 10 minutes for Featherstone to level through Andy Kain but they never looked back from that point.

Two further tries followed within the next five minutes from Tony Tonks and Sam Smeaton completely switched the balance of the game towards its final outcome.

Liam Finn added the next for Rovers before the Dons suffered a blow just before the break when Butterfield was injured making a try saving tackle on the line and had to be taken off.

Featherstone had the benefit of the slope in the second half and used it to turn the screw on their plucky opponents with three more through Smeaton, Hardman and Kain.

There could have been a second Doncaster try on the hour but winger Stu Sanderson failed to keep his feet after kicking ahead.

Rovers punished the mistake when Tommy Saxton went over for the eighth while Bostock scored in the corner.

Mike Emmett reduced the deficit on 68 minutes but Zak Hardaker and Smeaton rounded off the 11 try rout for Featherstone.

The Dons are back in action at the Keepmoat on Sunday with the visit of London Skolars in the NRC.